AFP
“Symbol of China's Status”

“Symbol of China's Status” December 18, 2019

China's second aircraft carrier was commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on 17 December in a ceremony held at the Sanya-Yulin naval base and was given the name Shandong. The carrier's base-port of Sanya-Yulin is on the northern shores of the South China Sea, which gives a pointer to where the carrier is likely to operate in the immediate future.

Shandong was built by Dalian Shipbuilding International Corporation (DSIC) and was launched on 26 April 2017. It commenced sea trials in May 2018 and has completed a total of nine periods at sea. The final trials phase included a transit from Dalian to Hainan, during which it passed through the politically sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The carrier was built to broadly the same design as the PLAN's first carrier, Liaoning, which was a refitted Soviet-era vessel which Beijing bought second hand from Ukraine in 1998.

President Xi Jinping saw the vessel as "a symbol of China's status”.

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